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Showing posts from September, 2005

The Tell Tale Saddle

I have been annoyed lately by a creaking sound coming from my bike saddle. It happens almost every time I hit dead bottom on a pedal stroke. This is new, my bike used to be very quiet. I took it to the guys at Turin in Evanston and they lubed the rails. That helped for a few days, but the noise returned. At this point, I am overwhelmed by literary references. The obvious one is to Poe . It is impossible to say how the sound entered my ears, but, once heard, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old saddle. It had never wronged me. It had never given me a sore or rash. I think it was in the rails! Yes, it was this! The rails creaked the sound of a tick--pale silver titanium rails. Whenever it sounded, my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the saddle, and thus rid myself of the tick for ever. Of course, that is too easy. I am drawn instead to Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Ti

Secret Agent Man

How many times have you thought, or heard someone express the thought, that if you structure your transactions to avoid being importer of record, you can avoid most customs liability? That comes up a lot. People think it is beneficial to let the seller be the importer or even have the broker take care of that responsibility. Customs lawyers generally tell clients to shake that thought out of their heads. I say "generally" because there may be situations where it makes sense. Remember, this is just talk, it is not specific legal advice (it is not legal advice at all). Often, the reason we tell buyers that using a third party as the importer of record is not a liability shield is because of the possibility that Customs might treat the buyer as "aiding or abetting" the importer if something goes wrong. Worse yet, the buyer could be a co-conspirator in a criminal enterprise. None of that is good. The Court of International Trade recently issued an opinion basing third

Unsolved Mysteries

Can anyone tell me where I can buy a crystal skull , get a clear photo of Ogopogo , or explain the Coral Castle ? I figure it will be easier to do those things than figure out how to get Google rankings. It is apparent to me that most of the visitors to this site that come via a search engine do so through MSN Search, followed by Yahoo, with Google a distant third. I can't figure out how it is that the search "customs law" gets me number one placement on MSN but relegated me to the second page of Yahoo results. In Google, I have a hard time even formulate a search that finds this page. If the search is "customs law blog," I stay number one on MSN and move up to a respectable number 10 on the Yahoo results. On Google, I was not in the first four pages. Anyone who might read this and has any tips, I'd appreciate them. In the meantime, ignore the following text, it is here for experimental purposes only. Customs law, NAFTA, reasonable care, dumping, counter

Skidding into Deference

Whenever an importer sues the government over duties, the system gives all the breaks to the government. The challenged decision is presumed to be correct. That means the importer has the burden of proving that Customs is wrong. That's not too terrible, as some one has to have the burden of proof and it does not make sense to force Customs to prove that it is right every single time they deny a protest. But, in most customs matters, the Court of International Trade is also required to reach the correct result on the record developed before it. That means the Court looks only to the papers or evidence submitted, not the agency's record. That is what we call de novo review just to make it sound sophisticated. The apparent conflict between de novo review and the presumption that Customs is correct raised questions of how much independent thought the Court of International Trade is supposed to exercise when reviewing to Customs' decisions. Stay with me here, I have a point.

Life in Chicago

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I have several things piled up about which to blog. I want to get something off my chest about deference to Customs and there is an interesting new penalty case. But, for now, I offer only this snap shot of life in Chicago. It was taken looking down into an alley while waiting for my cup of coffee at Starbucks today. Having watched the Soprano's a fair amount, I assume the box near the trunk holds mattress covers, a jug of bleach, and some scrub brushes.

Do I Smell NAFTA in the Air?

September? Really, already? September is the cruelest month. Those of us with summer avocations (like cycling and sailing) know that the end of the season is bearing down on us. I have already scheduled a date to get my little boat out of the water for the winter. But, fall also means we enter the heart of the NAFTA season. Those of you responsible for NAFTA compliance should know that this is the time of year to be getting out supplier solicitations for Certificates of Origin. You want to have your required certified materials before the first of the year so that, when your existing CO's expire on January 1, you don't have a gap in your import or production records. Here's three hints that I hope are clear to most people (but I know are not clear to everyone): Don't waste your time an effort sending requests for CO's to every supplier in your database. It may seem obvious, but it is worth noting, that you should only get completed CO's from North American s

It's A Bright Sunny Day in Chicago

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Here is a cell phone shot of Cloud Gate, the newly unveiled, fully polished sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. Locally, it is known as "The Bean" for obvious reasons. Here is some more detailed info . I say "fully polished" because when it was unveiled last year, there were visible seams criss-crossing the surface. They have now been polished out.